EU’s Hedegaard Calls on Countries to Enact Aviation Carbon Cuts

European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard called on Russia and other nations to design domestic rules to cut carbon from airlines and earn exemption from the bloc’s emissions-trading program as of next year.

Hedegaard highlighted an option in the EU law that excludes incoming flights from countries that enact equivalent measures to cut pollution from its air transport sector.

“You could set a target for your aviation sector, you could make an incentive for them to improve fuel efficiency for aviation, it could be many things,” she said in an interview after a meeting with Alexander Bedritsky, a climate adviser to President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow. “We do not define what that is. We invite a dialog.”

The EU, which aims to lead the battle against climate change, wants to impose carbon curbs on flights to and from the region from next year after airline discharges in Europe doubled in two decades. Countries including Russia, China and the U.S. are expected to lodge a formal complaint today about the EU’s first expansion of the emissions trading system beyond the bloc’s borders at a meeting of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization.

A group of Russian experts will arrive in Brussels on Nov. 24-25 to meet officials at the European Commission, the 27-nation EU regulatory arm, to discuss what solutions could qualify as equivalent measures, Hedegaard said.

The EU said last month it’s in talks with “numerous” states about the expansion of its emissions trading system as part of regular diplomatic relations.

“For instance in China, they are considering having a sectoral target for aviation,” Hedegaard said. “We are exploring together with them if that is an equivalent measure? There are ways of dealing with this. There’s a lot of dialog going on.”

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